Tonight I thought I’d make one of the recipes in the 1898 New Galt Cook Book that takes more time, a contrast to last night’s quick recipe. Mrs. Robertson of Woodstock’s recipe for Baked Onions requires several hours of periodic attention.
I picked out 2 onions, washed them and put them in some salted hot water. I left them to boil for a 1/2 hour and then drained and added more salted water. Again I left them to boil for a 1/2 hour. They were tender so I removed the pot from the heat. I guess I was supposed to change the water once more. Instead I drained them and placed the boiled onions on a towel while I prepared the tissue paper. I waited to make this recipe until it was the season for wrapping gifts so that I had easy access to tissue paper. I took two layers of tissue paper and buttered the inside. I wrapped an onion and twisted the top. Then did the same with more tissue paper and the other onion. I placed the wrapped on a baking sheet and baked them for an hour at 300 F. Then I took them out of the tissue and tried to peel them. They are challenging to peel since they are very soft and very hot but I managed. I got them into a frying pan and started browning them in a bit of butter. I didn’t bother serving them with melted butter since they were already very buttery. Once they were browned I took them out of the frying pan and was ready to taste.
Mrs. Robertson of Woodstock Ontario shared quite a few recipes so I’ve talked about her several times over this year and yet I’m not sure about her identity.
Baked Onions take several hours to prepare and its debatable whether it is worth boiling, baking, and frying the same onions but it is certainly unique. They come out very soft and mild but I kind of miss the onion flavour. I think the browning in the frying pan could be skipped. They were nice fresh from the oven since they were already a bit caramelized. The smell was wonderful and they reminded me a bit of roasted garlic (except for the flavour). The long slow baking in the oven transforms the onions in the same way that garlic is transformed. Today it is a bit expensive to prepare onions this way as it uses a lot of electricity. However, in the days of cook stoves used for heating the home, this would be a good way to prepare onions in the winter. The stove is on anyway and onions are a cheap and plentiful winter vegetable that must have become boring by the middle of the winter so this technique makes sense in that context. The flavour grew on me and I ended up eating both onions! Can you imagine eating two onions? You’ll have to use your own judgement as to whether this recipe times travels to 2014. It works but might not fit a modern lifestyle. Try it if you are curious and have the time to boil, bake, and fry over more than two hours.
Mrs. Robertson, Woodstock
Wash but do not peel the onions, boil one hour in boiling water, slightly salt, changing the water twice in the time. When tender drain on a cloth and roll each in buttered tissue paper twisted at the top, and bake and hour in a slow oven. Peel and brown them. Serve with melted butter.